Hospitallers of Saint John of Jerusalem
Military order founded by one Gerald (Gerard), probably c.1113, to care for the poor and strangers in the Holy Land; known as Knights of Rhodes, 1309-1522; Knights of Malta since 1530.
Infirmaries were established under Raymond of Provence (1120-1160); their military character grew out of the armed escorts provided to pilgrims.
The fall of Jerusalem, 1187, and Acre, 1291, greatly depleted their possessions and they took refuge in the Island of Rhodes until vanquished by Solyman II, 1522, when they were offered Malta.
Grave abuses crept in and the religious vows were frequently ignored.
Protestantism caused their suppression in many countries, and from 1805 they were without a grand master, until Leo XIII filled the office, 1879.
Admission now rests upon strict conditions.
There are four great priories in Bohemia and Italy.
New Catholic Dictionary